Thursday, September 10, 2015

10Q Reflections: Part I

It's that time of year again, the time when the email arrives: Your 10Q are ready!

You log in, look at five years worth of responses to a simple set of 10 questions about the year. Your hopes, your dreams, your failings, your triumphs. It's all typed up and locked away year after year after the High Holidays. Five years. I recently posted about how much my life is not where I expected it to be. But that's looking at the long haul of experiences.

Clicking on each year and reading my life in a vacuum, what I predicted for the coming year, what I'd experienced in the past year, I realize how short-sighted I live my life. In a way, that's good. Living in the moment, experiencing life on life's terms. I never dream too big, I never dream too far away. I've always been a realist.

But this one, this one from last year's 10Q is big.
Here's the thing. When I was filling out my 10Q last year, I didn't know that Mr. T was going to be gone for a shocking nine months. I didn't know how much things would speed up. I didn't know how much I would need that connection in order to thrive and just survive.

I suppose I achieved what I was missing -- sort of. I spent a lot of time this past year praying and talking to G-d. A lot of time crying, pleading, begging, and reflecting. But I still don't completely and utterly feel like the deeply spiritual person I was several years ago after my divorce and moving to Israel. Life's incredibly busy and engaging with that self isn't as easy as I wish it were.

But that's the ultimate battle with being a Torah-observant Jew. It's so easy to go through the motions day in and day out. Say a blessing, eat an apple. Go to the bathroom, say a blessing. Get up, cover your hair, observe the laws of modesty. Go to the mikvah, speak Hebrew with your child. Write an article on the origins and meaning of the siddur (Jewish prayer book).

What's often missing is the feels. Yes, that's a popular bit of internet lingo at the moment, but the feels are what I've always battled with when it comes to taking my Judaism personally. I'm a cerebral person. I first came to Judaism through the textbook in college. I dove in to a master's degree in Judaic studies with the mind of an academic. I'm no Orthprax, because G-d, whether I spend hours in hitbodedut or not, is very central to my existence and understanding of the world.

And the funny thing is, the whole of modern Judaism is based on the deeply academic pursuits of the great rabbis, battling and arguing over meaning, substance, observance. But, for some reason, when I think of the rabbis of the Talmud and the great sages of the Medieval period and the great thinkers of modern Judaism, all I can think is, "Here are some super spiritual people, right?"

Who knows. My husband is a Hasid through and through. He's got the feels oozing out his ears and dances around the synagogue on Shabbat and has a joy in his soul that is something I envy. I wouldn't say I'm a mitnaged, the classic thought-based opponents of the Hasidim, as I don't oppose Hasidic thought and I find a lot of it incredibly inspiring and personally valuable, but my natural state is more that of the classic mitnaged than Hasid.

I suppose, then, Mr. T and I are creating a balance in a way. I learn from him, he learns from me, and hopefully, maybe, I can find the balance of spiritual seeker and passionate thinker and not feel so far, so rote in my Judaism.

Sign up for your 10Q.

Bonus: I really need to get back to 2013 and take my own advice.
Don't sweat the small stuff -- and it's all small stuff. You have an amazing husband, wonderful friends, and this life is a gift.